Mobile conversion and website speed

The impact of loading time and UX on conversion

Björn Zaske Managing Director
02.11.2021 6 min reading time


  1. Improve Google page ranking
  2. UX is business-defining
  3. Consider scenarios and marginal costs
  4. Multipliers: AMP and PWA

In many client meetings, people talk about media budgets, conversion, user experience (UX) and content - but almost never about website speed, progressive web apps (PWA) and mobile conversion rates. Yet the speed of a website is now the single biggest lever for conversion and the success of a site, regardless of whether the website is transactional or not. Even if a purchase is not made directly online: 62 per cent of Germans often carry out mobile research before making a purchase in a shop in order to get inspiration and advice or to compare prices and products.

Before we think about what future SEO content we can write - i.e. long before we create the first SEO content briefing - we need to analyse the current content in detail.

What's more, according to recent studies, the use of mobile devices is significantly higher than desktop and continues to rise - which has been confirmed many times by our customers. At the same time, the average mobile conversion rate is only around half that of desktop. This means that there is a lot of untapped potential in the largest and growing segment with high opportunity costs - and at the same time rewarding opportunities.

So far, only a few companies have internalised the fact that the mobile conversion rate is a key issue for sales and only a few are even aware that it is a differentiating factor in digitalisation.

Website speed is a customer's first impression

The loading speed is the very first impression a consumer gets of a company - and often remains the only one.

It is obvious: psychologically, fast websites are automatically seen as more professional and trustworthy: We humans associate speed with reliability and efficiency.

Reduce bounce rate and CPA: Improve Google page ranking by reducing loading times on landing pages and websites

The direct correlation between website speed, bounce rate and conversion has been proven by Akamai and Google. Based on a loading time of 1 second, the following results for Google

  • an increase in the bounce rate of 32 % with a loading time of 3 seconds
  • by 90 % at 5 seconds
  • at 6 seconds by 106 %
  • at 10 seconds by 123 %

Amazon has the now historic quote that every second of loading time costs 1.6 billion US dollars in sales per year.

Zalando confirmed this with a similar statement in 2018: With every 100 milliseconds of loading time improvement, the company was able to get 0.7% more profit with every website visit.

And OTTO's manager Olaf Schlüter says with regard to the improved loading times across the Group in 2018: "When it comes to customer focus, fast websites are a must."

Google integrated website speed as a ranking factor in its search algorithm back in 2010. Since July 2019, the mobile index has also become standard for new websites. This means that new websites will be measured against the standards for mobile devices. The company has announced that websites that load too slowly on mobile devices will be penalised in the rankings.

"The optimum loading times for the lowest bounce rate are between 700 milliseconds and 1.2 seconds across all devices."

– Akamai „State of Online Retail Performance“, 2017

Sounds exciting?

"UXFORBUSINESS": UX is crucial for business

When confronted with the term user experience (UX), the management of non-online-driven SMEs or even large companies either don't know what to do with the term or are tired of it, along the lines of: "UX..., sounds like Scotty, sounds like a machine room" or "Yes, we've already done everything."

At times, one could assume that the use of the term is inversely proportional to its understanding: user experience and customer centricity are on everyone's lips, and yet the opportunities that arise from a truly consistent optimisation of the UX of all digital and non-digital offerings are simply not being exploited.

At its core, UX is about creating fantastic, intuitive experiences for users. To put it simply, there are two basic principles:

  1. Give the user what they need and
  2. give it to him as soon as possible.

UX and relevance of an offer make happy customers, characterise the brand experience and ensure recommendations. For most established companies, it is currently THE way to create (sustainable!) competitive advantages.

In a digital, highly networked world, every product is part of the customer's brand experience - a consistently good user experience is therefore the key to a successful customer relationship.

This is all the more crucial in times of rising costs for online advertising. Once the price of acquisition through online advertising has exceeded the customer lifetime value (CLV), it becomes difficult for companies to acquire new customers. The solution: a convincing digital offer with a conversion-optimised UX.

UX therefore does not belong in the engine room, but rather on the bridge of a company. The CFO of Spotify summarises this in the catchy formula "Effective and efficient marketing = your own product + happy customers + recommendations", which can be read in the Internet Report 2019 by M. Meeker. We have outlined below how optimising UX can be viewed in the context of commercial success.

„Developing a better user experience produces by far the most impact for growth.“

– Barry McCarthy, CFO Spotify, 2018

Success is predictable: Consider scenarios and marginal costs

We do not rely on assumptions, but calculate the specific scenarios for the conversion optimisation of a website. This allows us to compare the estimated investment directly with the opportunities and the economic ROI. If we are certain that we can achieve optimisation, and this is often the case, we offer our clients a performance-based fee. An example income statement for conversion rate scenarios is shown in the chart below.

Example calculation of the cumulative customer lifetime value (CLV) after optimisation

Assumptions: Conversion rate 2 %, CLV 20 Euro

This is how we increase website speed performance using AMP and PWA:

  • 1. Status Quo:

    We are Google's partner for mobile conversion rates and website speed and initially determine the current status in audits.

  • 2. Strategy:

    Definition of goals, planning of the user journey and development of a mobile asset strategy.

  • 3. Implementation:

    The mobile site is implemented with AMP and PWA, dashboards are set up to measure the relationship between website speed and advertising budget allocation.

  • 4. Growth:

    Continuity is crucial for sustainable growth, as many brands lose speed after the initial euphoria. To this end, quarterly reports are planned and content is produced on an ongoing basis.

Sounds interesting? Arrange an initial consultation.

Björn Zaske Managing Director & Partner

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